Safety After a Disaster
Tips for Disaster Situations
After a disaster, damage to property may cause unusual and additional safety hazards. Many disaster-related injuries and deaths occur because of injuries resulting from clean up in the aftermath of a disaster.
- Wear sturdy shoes when entering buildings or walking through debris.
- Carry a flashlight when walking into buildings.
- Do not enter a building if the foundation has shifted or has been weekend.
- Do not demolish a building or house without professional help.
- Buildings should be declared safe before you can enter.
- If you smell gas, open all windows and doors, evacuate and call the gas company from an outside line.
- Do not use the heating equipment if you suspect damage until it has been checked out by a qualified service representative.
- Never use wet electrical appliances.
- Do not touch exposed cable or wires.
- Report all unusual waste (animal carcasses, asbestos etc.) to the proper authorities.
- Do not allow children to wade or play in contaminated water or sand.
Safe Drinking Water
In a disaster, such as a flood, water may be contaminated when sewage systems are damaged or there are breaks in the sewer lines.
To decontaminate water by boiling:
- Fill a large pot with water after straining the water through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove particles.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil for 3 minutes.
- Allow to cool and pour into a disinfected container.
To decontaminate water with bleach:
- Strain water through a coffee filter.
- Pour 1/8 of a teaspoon of unscented household chlorine bleach into a gallon of water.
- Let stand at least 30 minutes before drinking.
*If the water is still cloudy after 30 minutes add an additional 1/8 teaspoon and wait an additional 30 minutes. If the water is still cloudy, do not drink the water.
Caution: Excessive amounts of bleach can be poisonous - follow the directions exactly
- Pack beverages in one cooler and perishables in a separate cooler.
- Avoid the danger zone with food - keep it under 40 degrees or above 140 degrees.
- Always use a clean platter to serve food - do not put cooked food on the same platter that held raw meat or poultry.
- Use a separate cutting board for poultry/meat.
- Use or freeze raw poultry and ground meat in one or two days.
- Other meats can be stored for four to five days.
- Separate raw poultry and meat from other foods to avoid cross contamination - this includes at the grocery store, in the refrigerator, during preparation, on cutting boards and serving platters.
- Never put a marinade used on raw foods on cooked foods unless it has been brought to a boil first.
- Always wash your hands for 20 seconds before handling any food and after handling meat or poultry.
- Never thaw food at room temperature - always thaw food in the refrigerator or in the microwave (only if it is going to be cooked immediately).